Chaves 20th on stage eleven and 17th overall at Vuelta a EspanaWed 3 Sep 2014
24-year-old Esteban Chaves has continued his general classification battle on stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana, finishing in 20th position on another tough mountain top finish.
On a day where pre-race favourite Nairo Quintana (MOV) withdrew after his second fall in as many days, Chaves moved up into 17th position overall.
The Colombian featured amongst the front group on the final climb until the major contenders started to exchange blows and the powerful attacks of the stage aspirants began with three kilometres to ride.
Sport director Neil Stephens said that the group had re-established after yesterday’s individual time trial and were positive in continuing their learning curve at this year’s Tour of Spain.
“We had a bit of a reflection day yesterday and the conclusions were pretty positive,” Stephens said.
“The extra time we lost yesterday was about the same as we had gained on our expectations earlier in the Tour.
“We had a talk amongst the team this morning and they all agreed that we are doing a good job, we are enjoying the job we are doing and the results are a little inconsequential.
“The whole race is about going through the process correctly. The process for Esteban and also what the people around him are doing, not only the riders but the staff as well.”
It took almost 65km for the day’s main break to establish on stage eleven, a five-rider group including Pim Ligthart (LTB), Vasil Kiryienka (SKY), Elia Favilli (LAM), Johan Le Bon (FDJ) and Pello Bilbao (CJR). Kiryienka launched a solo effort from the break but was caught at the foot of the final climb.
Fabio Aru (AST) won today’s stage with a solo attack from his more fancied rivals in the front group in the final kilometre. Alberto Contador (TCS) remains in the overall lead.
“The boys went about the task in the same fashion today as they did all last week and they did a great job,” Stephens said.
“Everyone played their roles, there were a lot of breakaway moves and our guys covered most of the moves early and then worked to support Esteban towards the finish.”
Tomorrow provides some relief from the climbing with a flat 166.4km stage in Logrono.